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Rauschenberg & Johns

You clear your throat & spit into the sink.  
Downstairs, a frothing fills my canvas  
like the sea. A need once met  
& met again. The fleetingness of meeting
given way. Each day, the paper on the stoop
ripe for the taking, for the making into something
better than the news. On the record player,  
something bluesy, not too sweet. On the hot plate,  
eggs. We’ve got one fridge between us. One decent suit.  
One roof. And every shade of red & gray. The way  
these things combine: a strip of cotton, a smear of paint,  
the smell of turpentine. Pine in it like a thing  
I used to do. You walk across the floor;
my ceiling creaks. You watch the falling
light, & my brush moves.

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